Topics to Consider: (This group discussion guide for In A Family Way is reprinted with permission of Paz & Associates, publishers of the annual publication Reading Group Choices.)
- ) Why did Keith's partner, Aaron, argue against donating sperm to Janice and Sonya? Why did Keith decide to do so? Which one was right, and why?
2.) Keith signed an agreement waiving all parental rights to any resultant child in advance of donating sperm. Did he give sufficient thought to the possibility that he would have a change of heart once the baby was born? Did Janice or Sonya? Was it fair of them to exclude the baby's biological father from her life?
- ) What would be your community's reaction to a custody case involving gay or lesbian parents? What are your own feelings about the rights of lesbians and gays to form families?
4.) Courts in several states have allowed a spouse of the same sex to adopt his/her partner's child, without forcing the biological parent to waive his or her own rights. Would this have been a good route for Sonya? What are your feelings about the legalization of same-sex marriages?
5.) Aaron's desire to see Sonya's parental rights accorded legal status leads him to support Sonya and even testify against Keith at the custody hearing. Not surprisingly, this hurts Keith and makes any reconciliation between the two men less likely. How would you have handled this situation if you were Aaron?
- ) Under what circumstances do couples, whether gay or straight, tolerate strains in their relationship? What precipitates a final breakup?
7. Keith tries to assure Janice's mother that he will see to it "that Heather has a perfectly normal childhood." What is a normal childhood?
8.) Sonya's attorney asks the judge to set new legal precedent by accepting Sonya and Janice's relationship as making them -- in Janice's words -- "a real family." What do you consider a "real family?" What relationships do you have that you consider "family?"
9.) Do you have gay or lesbian members in your family? How would you describe your family's reaction? How might you react if one of your children, or a close family member, "came out" to you as lesbian or gay?